DODGY private hire cars have been taken off the Capital’s roads in a pre-Christmas clampdown.
Three cars failed spot-checks by police at the weekend, including one with a totally treadless tyre.
Industry insiders welcomed the move this week for helping keep passengers safe as business picks up for the festive bumper season.
Sergeant Annecia Madine from West End Police Station said: “During recent spot-checks carried out on private hire vehicles, three were taken off the roads for not being in roadworthy condition. This included one vehicle with a completely bald tyre.”
Sgt Madine said the spot-checks were part of ongoing collaboration work with the city council and Taxi Inspection Office to protect passengers.
“Over the festive season, private hire vehicles, taxis and other methods of public transportation will be in heavy use by those enjoying the city centre night time economy,” added Sgt Madine.
“Any vehicles identified by us, or our partners, as being unfit for purpose will be taken off the road and the drivers will face further action.”
Kevin Rafferty, vice-chair of the Edinburgh Private Hire Drivers Association, described the bald tyre find as “shocking” and welcomed the crackdown.
“We are fully behind these spot-checks and want more of the same to make sure people are safe out there.”
Mr Rafferty said business is already picking up ahead of Christmas – with last year’s December as busy as festival season.
He said new flights from Beijing and Dubai are bringing in ever more tourists in a welcome boost to the service sector, including hotels and bars.
“People with private hire licences, and taxi licences, should ensure their vehicles are road worthy, not just going through their test once a year but on a weekly basis.”
The Evening News reported in January how a taxi driver filmed a suspected bogus private hire car touring the city trying to pick up Hogmanay revellers – sparking safety fears.
The red Volkswagen Touran was spotted with a pre-booked sticker on one door but no official plates.
Licensing officials also praised the spot-checks as a way of helping ensure cars are road worthy.
Councillor Catherine Fullerton, licensing sub-committee convener, said: “Our vehicle examiners carry out regular inspections in conjunction with Police Scotland to ensure public safety, which is of utmost importance.
“We take seriously the safety of the travelling public and will continue to closely monitor the safety of vehicles.”